The judges of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction — previously known as the Orange Prize — have whittled their longlist down to six books. The shortlist for the $50,000 award includes:
* Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” one of the hottest books of 2013. It’s a coming-of-age story about a boy who loses his mother in a terrorist bombing in New York. The novel has been on The Post’s bestsellers list for 23 weeks.
* Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Lowland,” about two Indian brothers whose lives diverge in the tumultuous 1960s. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year.
The other nominees are Hanna Kent’s “Burial Rites,” Audrey Magee’s “The Undertaking” and Eimear McBride’s “A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.”
Tartt is the 2-1 favorite to win, according to British bookmakers William Hill. (How wonderful that our British cousins bet on literature!). They have Adichie at 3-1.
Eleanor Catton’s “The Luminaries,” which won the Booker Prize last year, was longlisted for the Bailey’s award, but did not make the shortlist.
Kirsten Reach, in a blog item for book publisher Melville House, points out that none of these shortlisted authors is British. Americans have taken home the UK-based award for five straight years.
The Bailey’s Women’s Prize will be awarded on June 4 at a ceremony in London.